Libraries as Producers of Information

I was thinking this morning about ways that the library can reach out to the community and really become part of the information infrastructure—partnerships, packaging of local information, education, leveraging our organizational expertise—when, lo and behold, Michael Stephens provided a link in his blog this morning to the text of a speech given by Jon Udell at the Global Research Library summit in October.

In his speech, Jon talks about libraries remixing information and essentially becoming contributors and producers of information on the web. Jon also addresses the possibility of librarians lending their expertise to people who are trying to package and organize their own information on the web, and he gives a wonderful example of working with his local police force to organize and mine their local crime statistics—okay, he had to twist their arm a bit to get them to go along with it, but it looks like they were onboard at the end.

Anyway, much of what Jon had to say points to the need for libraries to be more assertive in bringing their resources to bear on local issues. We’ve been inviting people for years to come to our buildings, now we can bring our resources and talents to them. We should make ourselves necessary; it’s not enough to long for the public’s attention.

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